Deciding What to Do with The Marital Home During Divorce
What couples should do with the family home is one of the most important property division issues that we address in family law. And, like everything else in divorce, there really are no black-and-white answers because every case is unique. Sometimes both parties want to keep the house after the divorce, while sometimes, both want to sell the home, or one spouse wants to buy the other out of their interest.
What to do when it comes to living in the home during the divorce – especially if there are children involved – is another question that we encounter from clients who are trying to figure out what’s best for them and their children.
Even Selling Brings Complications
There are of course financial and personal benefits to selling a home in the midst of the divorce process and going your separate ways – in every sense of the word: Not only cannot provide each spouse with closure – both emotionally and legally – but the profits gained from the sale of the home can often help them start anew in new locations.
Texas follows a policy of equitable distribution when it comes to divorce; meaning that property must be divided in such a way that’s ‘just,’ given the circumstances. This is often the easiest to address because, unless the home has always been kept as separate property by one individual, it is either sold and the proceeds are divided, or one party refinances the mortgage and buys out the other party’s interest.
However, there are often complicating factors involved, such as both parties wanting to keep the home, or one party wanting to keep the home, but not being able to afford to do so; perhaps the property’s value is now less than the mortgage, or in foreclosure, or behind in payments, etc. The decision can be especially difficult if there are children involved and a desire to keep them in the home.
Everything – Including Decisions On Where To Live During The Divorce – Should Be Run By Your Attorney So That It Does Not Come Back To Haunt You
Consulting an experienced attorney every step of the way is incredibly important – including when it comes to decisions about where to live during the divorce. You never know when one decision is going to come back to haunt you; especially if you were unaware of either how the law works or how a local judge might view a particular decision, etc. Some of the factors that parties should at least consider when it comes to figuring out whether they should live in the same home during the divorce include:
- Whether it’s even possible for the parties to live peacefully together during the divorce. Keep in mind that if you were staying together for the sake of the children during the divorce, but fighting a significant amount, this can do more damage to the children than simply living separately
- Whether the parties can afford two residences
- What the goals are in terms of child custody and visitation arrangements. It is possible that if one parent moves out and leaves the children with the other parent, this could affect a judge’s child custody/visitation decision, especially if there is a history of the children spending more time with one parent. This is why – if you are moving out – you want to make sure that you work with an attorney to come up with an official – even if temporary – plan so that these concerns can be negated
- Also keep in mind that some judges view parties residing in the same home together while getting a divorce as questionable
Contact Our Texas Divorce Attorneys with Any Questions
For any and all questions related to divorce in Texas, contact our experienced Brownsville family attorneys at Colvin, Saenz, Rodriguez & Kennamer, L.L.P. today to help provide you with strong, focused representation and ensure that you are protected.